The developers of the San Ramon City Center, a massive project that includes retail, housing, a hotel, and four new office buildings, have signed on starchitect Renzo Piano to design the Plaza District portion of the center. Piano's firm, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, is known in San Francisco for the California Academy of Sciences building and globally for the New York Times Building and London Bridge Tower. Back in 2006, he was selected as one of Time's 100 most influential people in the world. His upcoming San Ramon plaza will be surrounded by six pavilions of varying size that will, according to Piano, all be connected directly to the plaza. He envisions the plaza as a social hub that will have an open-air theater, trees and a water mirror, a playground and a winter ice skating rink.
The City Center is part of a revitalization of the Bishop Ranch office park, which first opened in 1979, and will have 479 residential units and 350,000 square feet of retail. The office buildings will provide 800,000 new feet of space. San Francisco-based BCV Architects will collaborate with Renzo Piano Building Workshop on the design of City Center. Bishop Ranch has sought to bring new amenities and vitality to the office park and has signed on tenants like PG&E, Bank of the West and General Electric over the past five years.